Defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC maintained their unbeaten record in the Hero Indian Women's League by sailing past Mata Rukmani FC by 9-0 at the TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, May 9, 2023.
Four goals and another Player of the Match performance from Nepal international forward Sabitra Bhandari, a brace from Indumathi Kathiresan, and a goal each from Sorokhaibam Ranjana Chanu, Dangmei Grace and Hemam Shilky Devi made the Malabarians' job look easy in the Group A clash today.
Gokulam took an early lead in the fourth minute of the match when Ranjana Chanu's attempted cross from the left wing was spilled across the goalline by Mata Rukmani goalkeeper Jyotsna Bara. They extended their lead minutes later when the tournament's top scorer, Sabitra Bhandari, collected a ball down the right flank and burst inside the penalty box with a solo run before scoring past Bara.
The floodgates opened as the defending champions pressed for more goals. Asem Roja Devi released a perfectly-weighted pass to Sabitra as the forward took few touches before slotting past Bara again.
Dangmei Grace made it 4-0 in the 20th minute of the match from Ashalata Devi's cross from the right flank. Jyotsna Bara fumbled with the initial attempted save and Dangmei pounced on the rebound to nod the ball into the back of the net.
Mata Rukmani struggled to contain Sabitra for her speed throughout the match. She turned provider for Gokulam's fifth goal this time, laying off a well-timed pass to Hemam Shilky Devi, who had all the time to slot the ball into an empty net. Indumathi Kathiresan made it 6-0 to the Malabarians in the 35th minute. The Indian international combined well with Sabitra at the edge of Mata Rukmani's penalty box before placing it nicely into the top corner from close range.
Indumathi scored her second and Gokulam's seventh of the match minutes before the half-time whistle. Sabitra had to wait until the 68th minute to complete her third hat-trick of the competition after a brilliant link-up play with Kashmina and Soniya Jose at the edge of the penalty box.
Dangmei and Sabitra's combination on the ball was wreaking havoc on Mata Rukmani's defence. Both teamed up again for Gokulam's ninth and final goal in the 69th minute. Dangmei's well timed pass split the Mata Rukmani defence wide open as Sabitra had it easy slotting it home past Bara at the near post.
Mata Rukmani are languishing in seventh place in the table and are the only team in the competition with no goals to their name so far. Gokulam Kerala sealed their place in the quarter-final with the win and remained at the top of the table with 16 points from six matches.
AIFF Media Release